I wasn't going to join in fray, but I have to now. I kinda missed the original incident, which was centered on this ad for Motrin that many women found insulting. I was Tweeted this morning with a link to a parody of the ad, which I finally watched.
The ad caused much controversy with "mommybloggers." Whatever the hell that means. (I mean , honestly, do we have "daddybloggers?" So cute, the little mommies!) But the reaction to the reaction has reeled me in. The aforementioned parody link to me took a post by one Steve Hall on a site called AdGabber.
Maybe these guys, the writer and the commenters, are not sexist jerks, but they sure are making it hard to think otherwise. Hall's opener:
Those damn women and their refusal to agree that an advertisement is funny! We did marketing studies!
I'm picking on the AdGabber post because I can. Several commenters didn't see what was the big deal. Which is cool. Personally, I find the ad is mostly just tone deaf, not particularly insulting in and of itself. But you know what? I think women who watched it picked up on the attitude of the people who made it, which is patronizing, condescending and more of same from advertisers, who frequently forget their "demographic" is a diverse group of real people. A comment on the Hall post:
Yep. It's the end of civilization as we know it because we can't tuck everyone in the same little box. And people can express their opinions.
If the Motrin reaction seemed a bit over the top, put it in context with all the advertising that boxes women into one-dimensional stereotypes. Moms who obsess over germs on their counters. Moms who just want their friends to think their house smells good. And they cook from scratch. Men who buy insurance for things their wives didn't know they bought. Ha, ha. Funny.
Dudes, have you not been paying attention? Did you miss a little theme that emerged during the election? You know, the one with a female presidential candidate? And a hockey mom? Is it possible that women are -- I don't know -- sensitized to the concept of sexism?
Just maybe the Motrin ad was sort of picking at a scab. Let's just take a look-see at some of the opinions oozing out. Another comment:
Yeah, OK. Let's imply that women who blog about things that irritate them are superficial and have no perspective on what is important in the world. I'm sure mommybloggers can't be doing anything meaningful with their lives if they have time for this. Nice going. That's not sexist or condescending.
Uh, hello. Read any political blogs lately? Like, DailyKos for example? There are MOMS on there!! Can you believe?!?! We just elected a president with "the groundswell."
And my absolute favorite:
Yep. Someone wrote that. "when too many people think they have a right to be heard."
That damned Internet! How dare the pajama-wearing, over-estrogened mob question the cleverness of advertising professionals? Those dumb bitches!
So Motrin pulled the ad and apologized. "Caved" as Hall put it. "Caved." As if Motrin had made a powerful stand on some moral issue. It was an ADVERTISEMENT. To get people to BUY something. Which people didn't like and said so publically.
Better get used to it, boyz.